The Genesis of Funk – with Rodney “Skeet” Curtis

Rodney "Skeet" Curtis

Rodney "Skeet" Curtis

Powerhouse Funkster

Born in Baltimore in 1956, Skeet is an avid onlineist and professional musician. has played with P-Funk since 1977. Formerly with Parliament-Funkadelic and currently touring with Maceo Parker.

Website: Learn More

I value my home and family time. I passionately watch sports. I have one or two seafood restaurants that I frequent. In other words … I’m a boring hermit 🙂

Andy – Hello Skeet, it’s a huge honor to chat with you today, thanks for taking you time to contribute this interview for The Daily Funk Club. I may be your biggest fan!


Skeet – Thanks for the kind words  🙂


Andy- Your pedigree is clearly that of the highest order when it comes to Funk bass, will you please tell us how you got started on the music trip, what brought you to the bass guitar and about your earliest playing experiences in Baltimore?


Skeet – Actually I had two major early musical inspirations.

Number 1 – In 1965, before I ever thought of picking up a guitar, I saw a movie called “Your Cheatin’ Heart” which had actually come out in 1964.  A bunch of neighborhood kids and I went to see it at the 25 cent theater. It was the story of Hank Williams, Sr. starring George Hamilton.  In that movie, towards the end, Hank stopped at a gas station and ended up missing a concert to sit on a porch with an old style Coke machine with some old “colored” guys. I believe he died that same day. With the social unrest of the time being what it was, I was touched by that in ways that I’ve only recently come to fully understand and that made me want to play guitar.

Number 2 – One of my neighbors and babysitters’ boyfriend (now husband) is a bass player named Charles Hawkins. He played with a group called Frankie and the Spinners (later Spindles) which was the first Baltimore band that I can recall to “make it” musically. He was really nice to me and took time out to talk to me when I was at that very impressionable age.  Not only that, I thought he was cool as SHIT!!!! 🙂  I wanted to be a bass player just like he was. “Hawk” and I are still friends to this day. I just saw him a couple of weeks ago as a matter of fact. Not to mention the fact that my hands were the size that they are now when I was a preteen.  So guitar was out of the question … LOL  Decades later I met George Hamilton in Las Vegas and told him that story and told him that it was all his fault. He said “Good on me then”  🙂


Andy – Having been one of the primary contributing bassists for Parliament, Funkadelic, Brides of Funkenstein, Parlet, Fred Wesley, Gorge Clinton and The P Funk All Stars (to name a few)  – both in the studio and as a long time touring band member, will you please tell us about a few of your most cherished experiences, and how it felt to be a part of the innovation and eventual genesis of the Funk movement?


Skeet – It all started when Gary “Mudbone” Cooper called me to do some recording primarily for what would become The Brides of Funkenstein and Parlet.  George Clinton apparently liked my playing enough to ask me to join the band which led to my most cherished singular moment.  That was in 1977 when I stepped onto the stage of my very first 20,000+ seater.  It was the Checkerdome in St. Louis.  I still can’t describe exactly what I felt.  The close relationships that I formed being with P-Funk still endure today.  My most cherished tour was the Atomic Dog Tour. In my opinion, that tour was the epitome of the genesis of the Funk that you speak of.  We were as polished and musical as I can recall.  Maybe TOO polished and TOO musical for some … LOL


Andy – These days, and for several years now you have been holding down the bass chair for Maceo Parker, perhaps the most prestigious artist and band on the scene to carry forward the Funk torch. Will you please share with us your feelings on being a part of that band, both musically, and also share some of the highlights of your extensive international performing worldwide?


Skeet – Maceo’s talent and professionalism is beyond words to me. I met him when he came back briefly to bridge the gap between the old horn section and Greg Boyer, Greg Thomas and Bennie Cowan (the P-Funk Horns or the Baltimore Connection Horn Section). We maintained a friendship over the years and when the situation dictated, he asked me to join his band. I had played with funky cats my whole life but I’d never played with a keyboard player of the caliber of Will Boulware. It was and still is a jaw dropping experience … LOL … and Bruno Speight is off the charts grease splattering funky … LOL and Ron Tooley played with Jaco … ‘nuff said 🙂  We definitely play at some suit and tie functions at some high end places and with some very high caliber talent.  The highlight of touring with Maceo so far is a festival that we played a couple of years in Bogota, Columbia to a 100,000+ crowd of enthusiastic music fans.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt more appreciated as a musician than I did that day.


Andy – We all have live’s outside of the music we make or the jobs we do with music, what does Skeet like doing when not playing the bass, do you have other interests, hobbies or activities you enjoy?


Skeet – Not really.  I value my home and family time.  I passionately watch sports.  I have one or two seafood restaurants that I frequent. In other words … I’m a boring hermit 🙂

DONATION BOX

In order to keep subscriptions free, subscribers are encouraged to donate what & when they can.


SPONSORING BRANDS





 

About The Author

andyirvine

Andy Irvine is musician, author, and educator who has achieved world wide recognition. His devotion to his craft of the bass guitar, and sharing that love with others, has established him as a leading musicianship coach and respected source of encouragement to countless players around the entire globe.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

LOGIN / REGISTER

Close
*
*

Products

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This